Saturday, January 13, 2018

Orchid Report

For years, I told people that I was no good with orchids -- on the rare occasion when I got one (and I can think of only once), it died or would never bloom again. I'm going to have to revise that assessment, though.

Our little home orchid collection is going gangbusters at the moment. This is at least the second batch of flowers from all of these plants. The two above live on a windowsill in the living room, and the two below live in the bathroom, where they seem to appreciate the humidity.

I think the secret to orchids -- and you may already know this -- is to not allow them to stand in water. They don't like having wet feet. Instead, they need excellent drainage and a good, fresh rinsing every now and then. I always picture them living on a rocky cliff or tree branch in a Himalayan forest, which I think (?) is their natural habitat, and getting rinsed by rain which quickly drains away.

Not that I am any kind of expert.

This (above) is our oldest orchid, the one I got from my coworker when she retired a couple of years ago. It's still looking good, and it's on -- I believe -- its third batch of flowers.


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Hang on. I thought an orchid was some sort of killer whale.

e said...

Orchids also thrive in the tropics...

ellen abbott said...

they are beautiful, all vandas I think. I've never tried to grow them but my sister has one that blooms. maybe I'll give it a go. I have a friend who grows them as a hobby in a greenhouse. the last time I was there they were all blooming their heads off.

Ms. Moon said...

My orchids never bloom. Ever.
And I think that they are a tropical flower. Have you ever read The Orchid Thief?

Red said...

You're an expert on orchids in my eyes. Every summer , I look for native orchids. Some years there are many and some years they're hard to find.

Sharon said...

Good for you! I on the other hand have had no luck at all. These are beautiful and I love how the blooms last so long.

Catalyst said...

Those are gorgeous. I shall think of you from now on as Luther Burbank.

Jennifer said...

I've killed a couple of orchids, but that was long ago and I've started having decent luck with houseplants, including violets. Your post inspires me to try again! Thank you!

37paddington said...

Wow, those are beautiful! Good advice about the wet feet! My daughter told me that the way to water an orchid is to put an ice cube on top of the soil once a week. I tried that and orchids lasted months and months. who knew?

Marty said...

You may claim to be no expert, but whatever you're doing is working fine.

jenny_o said...

They are beautiful. The purple one, second to last, is especially lovely to my eyes. This is why man invented velvet cloth! Nature did it first, and best.

Barbara said...

Your phalaenopsis orchids are lovely!

John Going Gently said...

Orchid snob

Steve Reed said...

YP: Gardening by Peter Benchley!

E: Yeah, they're generally thought of as tropical flowers. I think these phalaenopsis orchids are tropical or subtropical, native to Central and Southeast Asia. I said Himalayas but I don't think they grow at high elevations.

Ellen: Are vandas and phalaenopsis the same thing?

Ms Moon: I LOVED "The Orchid Thief." One of my favorite books!

Red: Yeah, we have some native orchids here in the UK, too -- and I used to see them growing in Florida. Orchids are much more widespread and common than people think!

Sharon: They do last a long time!

Catalyst: I would only claim the Burbank nickname if I were hybridizing -- which I'm not!

Jennifer: Excellent! Yes, try an orchid! They're easier than people think. (Depending on which kind you get.)

37P: I've heard that -- in fact I think you may have told me about that technique before. It seems awfully cold for an orchid, though! But hey, the proof is in the pudding, and apparently it works. I can see how slow delivery of a small amount of water would benefit the plant.

Marty: Trial and error!

Jenny-O: They DO look very velvety!

Barbara: Thank you! And thanks for confirming the type.

John: LOL!